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Rare Amur leopard cub undergoes surgery after being caught in suspected trap

By The Siberian Times reporter
18 June 2015

With as few as 70 left in the wild, evidence of poachers targeting species is likely to be a concern.

Vets found out that the cub had lost some of the claws on its front paw and was suffering from a fever. Without help, it would likely have died within days. Picture: Land of Leopard

One of the world’s rarest big cats has had to undergo surgery after being injured by a suspected poacher’s trap in a Far East national park. The one-year-old Amur leopard cub was discovered within the Land of the Leopard reserve by guards near the border with China.

After park staff were notified, experts from Roprirodnadzor regional management, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Nadezhdinskaya veterinary stations came to help.

It was clear the cub was on the brink of exhaustion and in a state of distress and, after tranquilising it, it was taken to a rehabilitation centre in the village of Alekseyevka.

Vets found out that the cub had lost some of the claws on its front paw and was suffering from a fever. Without help, it would likely have died within days.

The experts believe the injury was most likely caused by a poacher’s trap or loop, although it is not known whether it happened in Russia, or across the border in China.

The Amur leopard is listed by WWF as the 'most endangered cat anywhere in the planet' with as few as 45 adults left in the wild – and about 70 in total - so any injury is concerning.

Elena Salmanova, Deputy Director of the Land of Leopard National Park, said: 'To save the leopard we’ve had to give it surgery. At the moment the animal is in a stable condition and has all the chances for survival. During the operation, various samples were taken for analysis for the presence of disease.

Amur leopard injured


Amur leopard injured

'Even at 100 per cent health the forecast is disappointing: since the animal has no claws on its front paw, it will hardly be able to get food and therefore cannot go back into the wild.' Pictures: Land of Leopard

'However, even at 100 per cent health the forecast is disappointing: since the animal has no claws on its front paw, it will hardly be able to get food and therefore cannot go back into the wild.'

Earlier this week, the Amur branch of wildlife organisation WWF Russia announced it is ready to start work on creating a new population of the endangered leopard.

Under a plan to help conserve their numbers, cubs will be created from some of the big cats currently living in zoos around the world.

They would then be nurtured and raised in a special way to prepare them for life in the wild, before being released into the Lazovsky Nature Reserve, in Primorsky Krai.

The Amur leopard is normally a nocturnal animal that tends to live and hunt alone. According to WWF the future of the species is “uncertain”, particularly as a result of poaching in the area.

It has a different coat to traditional leopards, with widely spaced rosettes and thick black borders. In the summer its coat is short but in the winter it thickens, with hairs up to 7cm long, to keep out the worst of the Siberian weather.

Comments (1)

That was very cruel what they did...hope he's taken care of in his new home. Another truly beautiful creature of Siberia being wiped out by ignoramuses like those poachers. Hope they are caught & put in cages themselves.
Jaker, Dundalk
21/06/2015 21:06
11
0
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